China’s transformation from rice basket to urban jungle has passed a significant milestone.
Back in 1980, fewer than a fifth of China’s population lived in cities. Now, more than half of the 1.3 billion Chinese are urbanites.
In just a few decades the world’s most populated country has seen the largest mass migration in human history. Millions of people have poured into China’s rapidly expanding urban centres. The People’s Republic - once solidly agrarian - has reshaped itself into an urban society driven by mass industrialization.
2011 was the tipping point, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. It was in that year that China’s urban dwellers became the majority, reaching 51% of the country’s population. Coincidentally, that is the same proportion of the world’s population of 7 billion that is now urbanized.
Twice as many Chinese people now live in cities and towns as in the whole of the US.